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U.S. Ryder Cup Task Force members elected

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There’s been a lot of hype and even more questions regarding the “task force” that the PGA of America was planning to create in preparation for the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team. What’s a task force? Who will be on it?

Speculations for the latter can now subside. The 11-member committee was announced early Tuesday morning, and it has been tasked to examine all aspects of the Ryder Cup, including the selection of players, captains and the week of competition.

Real ground breaking stuff, right?

Here’s who’s involved.

PGA of America Officials

  • Pete Bevacqua (Co-Chair)
  • Derek Sprague (Co-Chair)
  • Paul Levy (secretary of the PGA of America)

Former Captains (all of losing teams)

  • Raymond Floyd (1989)
  • Tom Lehman (2006)
  • Davis Love III (2012)

Former Players 

  • Tiger Woods
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Steve Stricker
  • Jim Furyk
  • Rickie Fowler

Surprisingly, the list of members leaves off Paul Azinger, captain of the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team. He’s the man responsible for the team’s only win since 1999, and his pod-system received public acclaim from Phil Mickelson in a press conference after the U.S. Team’s most recent losing effort.

Azinger was offered a spot on the Task Force, according to his interview on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive, and while he declined he left open the possibility that he could be a part of the Task Force in the future.

“I didn’t say no,” Azinger said. “I said not yet. I think everything is going too fast. It’s just too soon to make that kind of decision when emotions are involved.”

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Large chris

    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:25 am

    LMAO well that’s European victories sorted out for the next ten years at least. A ‘task force’ hahahah. And even more hahahaha at trying to get Tiger or a few of the others to a ‘task force meeting’

    If there is one occasional truism about the American mentality, it is that Americans have a tendency to try the same thing over and over again, with the same end result. The last thing USA needs is another committee.

    Solutions? Hardly difficult honestly – pick the players the week before (justin Leonard said last week how difficult is it to run up a pair of pants?). And part of the selection process is that to be considered you make the effort to turn up for a practice two days at the next venue say 5 months beforehand.

  2. Derehk

    Oct 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    All time Ryder cup records
    (I think PGA was looking at the wrong lists when picking the task force members.)
    Most matches lost
    USA
    Jim Furyk, 20
    Phil Mickelson, 19
    Tiger Woods, 18
    Raymond Floyd, 16
    Davis Love III, 12

    Most single matches lost
    USA
    Phil Mickelson, 5
    Raymond Floyd, 4
    Jim Furyk, 4

    Most foursome matches lost
    USA
    Raymond Floyd, 8
    Jim Furyk, 8
    Tiger Woods, 8
    Phil Mickelson, 6

    Most fourball matches lost
    USA
    Jim Furyk, 8
    Phil Mickelson, 8
    Tiger Woods, 8
    Davis Love III, 6

    Golfers Who Played 5 or More Career Matches Without Winning
    USA
    Rickie Fowler, 0-3-5

    Steve Stricker fits right in with a 3-7-1 record but he didn’t make any lists. Why Tom Lehman is picked besides losing as a captain is hard to understand as he actually got more experience winning than losing individually.

    To sum it up. This task force has lots of experience on how not to do it. Lets see if that helps.

    • bullrambler

      Oct 16, 2014 at 7:18 am

      The Rider Cup story has gotten old and it’s the players themselves that have to step up on the stage and want the victory as bad as the europeans do.

    • Knobbywood

      Oct 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Winning doesn’t teach you as much as losing

      • Robeli

        Oct 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        So you Americans are well educated, aren’t you? LMAO

  3. Jafar

    Oct 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    They should just let the fans vote. Then the fans can blame the fans.

  4. michael

    Oct 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

    The pga is a joke and has become a political ponzie scheme at best!
    Ask yourself what percentage of pga pros receive any benefit for their
    yearly magazine subscription while the pga political big shots reap $$$.
    You don’t see the Europeans with such issues. Lets take care of the club pros
    who work two jobs to support their families give them something to look
    forward too. Once again money has spoiled a once great game and most of its
    players! The pga wants to grow the game so they can line their pockets.
    Check their salaries vs the club pro. Oh by the way what is the dollar amount
    spent on each player and spouse they send to the ryder cup?

    • Knobbywood

      Oct 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      The golf course that employs the PGA pro pays his salary idiot not the PGA of America

    • gplfing

      Oct 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Golf is a businesses that has a sport here and a sport that has some business there.

    • DolphLundgrenade

      Oct 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Where are you getting your PGA “big shots” salary information from? They are vastly underpaid at headquarters and understaffed. The money they paid for Pete has already reaped tremendous benefits for the association. Notably, money passed down to the section offices , to be distributed to tournament funding and staffing to benefit PGA professionals doubled last year alone.

      The PGA is adapting and growing and big things are happening right now. PGA professionals and endemic businesses should be very excited about the future.

      Your false opinions and rumours are more suited to a sewing circle you gossip girl and hate mongorer. Make your lies and agenda an inside voice and focus on whatever it is you do know.

      Regarding the task force, however, I agree this is very reactionary and should have been considered for a few months before making this a public forum. The Europeans played better than us. That is all. I hope they find some sense and can recover from this knee jerk reaction. It was a PR blunder on their part.

      Perhaps a new system for selecting our team is the best solution. How Ryan Moore, a match play stud, didn’t make this team is entirely beyond my ability to comprehend. I love Tom Watson, but perhaps captains should be of an age that relates to the average age of the team should be considered. Tom couldn’t relate and therefore chose poorly and couldn’t get buy in the way Zinger did.

  5. Sir Nick

    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Ridiculous! Why in the world do they need to do this? America does so many great things, and yet they go and do silly stuff like this. There really is no need for all this hoopla, what American golfers need are stricter rules on the PGA Tour for players to have to show up and play at least 25 tournaments a year to get enough Ryder Cup points, so that they are forced to show up and play even the smaller events. The points system should be revised for selection into the team, according to those appearance numbers. You can’t have a player show up for only a dozen or so tournaments and collect enough points to be able to stay in the top 10 of the points and then show up and expect to play well with others when he didn’t show up half the year!

    • bradford

      Oct 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

      And on the flip side, if a player is living 90% in the US and playing almost solely US PGA events–should he (they in this case) REALLY be playing on the EU team?

  6. Lee Westwood

    Oct 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    hahahaha … ha ha! lol

  7. Swang'nThemClubs

    Oct 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    If only there were a time machine to bring back some of sports’ greatest coaches (ie, Vince Lombardi, Eddie Robinson, John Wooden, etc) to offer a swift kick and a brash dose of reality to those who think a “Task Force” is the answer to figuring out why we keep getting our @zzes handed to us… SMDH 😐

    • Team

      Oct 15, 2014 at 3:43 am

      That’s not going to do any good either, as these modern players just don’t care about a team effort when they don’t get paid to play, when the winnings on the regular tour pays so much money that they can afford to retire after 1 year of playing.

      • Knobbywood

        Oct 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        Right cause the euros are all broke and don’t care about money right? The euros PLAYED BETTER! And even if the euros did care more (false) since when did caring about the result actually lead to a good shot? Oh right it works the other way around…

  8. Rwj

    Oct 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    The PGA of America is part of the problem, so having them chair is going to negate this whole task force meaningless. If they don’t like the solutions, they will not implement them. Having current players on the list doesn’t mean much considering they don’t get along and play well in the first place. Rickie on the list is a joke, he has only one experience and he doesn’t sound off about things anyway; he’s a go with the flow mid level player who just shows up and gets paid. I don’t have the answers…but neither does the task force…Europe is better, they care about the game, winning, and some fashion. The US guys care about sponsor dollars, matching outfits, and their image

    • Knobbywood

      Oct 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Lol ur entire comment is a joke i hope.Europe cares about winning, the game, and SOME fashion? Haha ur like 12 right? Rickie folder is a mid level player? Man if top 10 in the world is mid level what are you playing to right now? +7?

      • Knobbywood

        Oct 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

        Fowler* though rickie folder is a pretty good tag for his Ryder cup performance

    • Knobbywood

      Oct 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Also fowler has participated in two Ryder cups o dispenser of knowledge and wisdom

  9. Joseph

    Oct 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I hardly think it’s a bad idea to create a team to discuss ways in which they can improve upon their performance. It’s really easy to say, just play better. I do think the US needs some consistency in their approach. It may take a few Cups to get the system in place and working effectively. It’s worth the investment.

  10. Robeli

    Oct 14, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    What a bunch of losers! No, seriously. Tom Lehman is the ONLY player with a winning record. How the @#$% are they going to come up with a winning formula? Lost case, even before they started,

    • Knobbywood

      Oct 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      There is no “winning formula” other than hit good shots and make putts… In other words PLAY BETTER

      • Robeli

        Oct 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        And that was Tom Watson’s approach – and look what happened. In 4balls and 4somes it require more than just hit good shots and make putts, it is also who you play together and when that plays a role – and Watson had NO clue about that. To ensure the players hit good shots and make putts, the captain has to manage his players for 4somes and 4balls in such a way it becomes a winning formula!

        • Knobbywood

          Oct 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

          That might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard… I watched the whole cup and Europe didn’t win because of what Paul M did, they won because they hit better shots and made more putts. Sorry to break it to you but the euros just played better… Bottom line Watson behaved like the egomaniac he is and he is cast as the scapegoat… If they had won he would have been cast as a hero

  11. Rich

    Oct 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    This task force thing is hilarious. Smells just a little of desperation. I wonder what will happen if Europe wins again in 2016? The problem for the USA team is that it’s all too political and not just about playing the better golf. Too many ego’s involved. Good luck with your task force.

  12. Joe

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Why is Rickie on the team

    • Steve

      Oct 14, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Young guy’s opinion. Smart move…look who did well!

      Have to keep Azinger off the task force if you’re going to choose him as the captain.

      • Robeli

        Oct 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        LOL. He should have the chair person!!! Well, at least they opened the door for an excuse. If they fail in 2016, it can be blamed that Azinger wasn’t part of this joke of a “team”.

        • Knobbywood

          Oct 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm

          U mean he should HAVE BEEN or BE? Anyways steve said what I thought as I read the list… Can’t have azinger on the task force and then pick him as captain… Wouldn’t look good

          • Robeli

            Oct 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

            Aye, aye Captain Spelling Bee! First take the balk out of your own eye before taking the splinter out of somebody else’s. If you can’t spell or type perfectly yourself, better to keep quiet.

          • Knobbywood

            Oct 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

            Spellcheck looks clean to me captain robelli… Here let me grab that splinter from your eye

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

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Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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Inside look: Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges on tour…6 months after launch

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Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges hit professional golf tours months ago. We reported on the launch extensively (see our videos later in the article) with deep coverage on the PGA Tour and at retail. As with any new offering, and especially for the gearheads on GolfWRX, it’s the tour chatter that drives us. What the pros do, play, and think is always a driving force.

However…

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the aftermath of a launch. What are the reactions and tweaks that are made once the shine has worn off?  It’s not uncommon for players to need to warm up to a new product before it ultimately finds its way into the bag permanently.

When Jaws hit the scene, it integrated quite quickly, and that is saying a lot. The MD4 was a very successful wedge line on tour and at retail. It was a huge initial launch and one Callaway was happy with as a solid portion of its staff put Jaws in play straight away.

In my conversations with tour staff and techs, spin and lower ball flight has been a recurring theme. In the case of the Tour, being able to flight a wedge down and not have it float, while maintaining maximum spin, is a weapon. Imagine being at Honda last week and knowing you can hit a knee-high fastball with a 58-degree wedge and trust the ball will stay down, not skip, and will stop dead in its tracks. On tour, its the speed of the stop that is valuable, not ripping it backward—that is typically only fun for TV. Golf these days is more like darts and less like billiards.

As to be expected, the grinds on all Callaway wedges are tour favorites. It’s pretty simple to fall in love with something that comes ought of the mind of Roger Cleveland, who has been the driving force in putting Callaway consistently at the No. 2 most-played wedge on Tour.

But how has the MD5  really done thus far?

Let’s be clear, most guys don’t make switches late-summer or fall (when MD5 was launched on tour). The season is too far down the river and the coming winter gives them quiet time to really test. Also, when you work through the California swing, a good portion of the higher-ranked staff only poke their heads out once or twice. This doesn’t mean the guys on the truck aren’t building new products, but a good portion of it is for winter testing, emergency backups, etc.

But now we hit the Florida swing. The Masters is a month away. The world’s best start to show up consistently, the playing surfaces change from the West Coast to the East Coast, and all of these guys are in full attack mode. Any real testing or guesswork is pretty much done, and it’s time to get going. This is the time when you can actually see if a product has staying power.

The question is since Jaws hit the scene, what have the pros learned, what adjustments have been made to dial them in, and ultimately, is this wedge line a success? I wanted to tackle this question from two different perspectives: from the reps on tour and two young staff players that have them in play.

In this case, there is the guy on the Callaway tour trailer who is in charge of wedges, Simon Wood, and young tour staffers Akshay Bhatia and Min Woo Lee.

Three unique perspectives—and also perspectives that give us an honest look at the performance and popularity of a “new” wedge on Tour.

I talk with Simon Wood quite a bit. He’s a good as they get in this category, having worked for years in Europe and on the U.S. tour. His knowledge is extensive and even more importantly, he is ridiculously honest. If the product is solid and he believes in it, he will tell you. If he goes quiet, there’s that too.

I caught up with him on a day off and this was the update he gave:

Wunder: It seems MD5 came out of the gates quickly and never really slowed down, are you surprised at the response?

Wood: Not at all. Truth is, these players are very particular about what makes it in or out of the bag. A new club has to do something better than the old one and do all the things they liked about the old one. The Jaws really spins. This is a unique groove system, and I’ve noticed the players like it for two main reasons 1) They can keep the trajectory down on the high lofts 2) they can be a bit more aggressive because of the amount of spin these wedges offer. Out on tour that’s a big deal.

Wunder: What percentage of staff (25+players on U.S. Tours) are in the MD5 across the board?

Wood: I’d say close to 50 percent, which is a good number considering how many good options are out there.

Wunder: Now that we are in the Florida swing, are you having to do anything special to adjust to the new grass and conditions?

Wood: No its the opposite actually. I think with the grooves being as good as they are and the number of options we have grind wise, we on the truck are doing less tweaking and grinding to wedges. That’s a sign one the R&D team did a great job with this design and two that our players trust our product enough to let their creativity take over.

Wunder: Any surprise grinds that are popping up more often?

Wood: It’s not a surprise because we knew it was good, but the low bounce W has been a hit thus far. Lots of guys testing and gaming that one.

I then went on to chat with Callaway staffers Min Woo Lee (winning WITB, podcast link below) and Akshay Bhatia on their experience with Jaws. This perspective was interesting because Akshay is young, he’s fighting for a place to play this summer, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing as a professional. Min just recently won in Australia and has enough time under his belt now to understand a real asset over something he’s still trying to make work.

Point is: pressure is high on both of these kids, and the last thing either wants to struggle with is their wedges.

Wunder: You were an early adopter of the MD5 last fall, have you noticed any significant improvement over your previous gamers?

Bhatia: Trust is the biggest one. I love the shape of these wedges and just knowing that Roger and Phil have an influence on the wedges you are playing gives me so much confidence. From a performance standpoint, I like the variety in grinds the MD5 offers. Anywhere I play I have an option, whether it be X in soft conditions or C for the firmer turf.

Wunder: With the aggressive grooves of the MD5, what shots have you gained that you didn’t have before?

Bhatia: Definitely the off-speed/three-quarter shots with some spin. These wedges really keep the ball down and it’s a bonus when I know I can take something off of a shot and the ball will stay down and hold its line into the wind.

Wunder: And your current set up is?

Bhatia: Currently, I’m in the Jaws MD5 50S, 54S bent to 55, and the 60C or X depending on the conditions (KBS $Taper 130X shafts in black with Iomic grips) with some heel and toe relief in the X. I also like to mess around wit the PM Grind 60 if I’m looking for a different look.

Young Callaway staffer Min Woo Lee, who recently triumphed at the European Tour’s Vic Open, has this to say

Wunder: What ball flight differences do you see in Jaws over the past wedge set?

MWL: Overall the same. I like to pick my trajectory. So if I didn’t like it,  I wouldn’t have put it in my bag…need to have every shot at my disposal.

Wunder: Do you do any extra grinding to your S?

MWL: Just in the 60, there is a little leading edge relief ground in. Prevents it from digging and gives me a bit more ability to be aggressive into it.

Wunder: Are there any other grinds you tried?

MWL: I tried the low bounce W and really liked, but the S grind has been my go-to for a long time, I know how to play with that one.

Wunder: As far as full shot turf interaction, why do you prefer the S?

MWL: The S is always what I’ve been into looks-wise, nothing else really caught my eye like that grind did. I do pretty good chipping around with it around the greens and we have some history so why mess with a good thing.

Overall, I think the MD5 wedge line has been a success on tour. Let’s be honest, wedges arent drivers, but identifying a popular line over another is quite interesting. These guys can get a TV remote ground into something useable, so when there is a shift across the staff to a new model, it validates that the ideas in it are sound and the wedge performs like it says it will. For larger tour staffs like Callaway has, operating a 50 percent clip for full line use is a really solid number.

Let’s be clear here, Callaway hasn’t made a bad wedge…like ever. From X Forged to the MD line and now into Jaws, Roger and the team know what they are doing. In my experience with these wedges, I will say that the grooves are ridiculously aggressive, and as Bhatia mentioned, there is a grind to satisfy any conditions.

Do most OEMs make solid wedges? The answer is of course they do; they all do. But the advantage that Callaway has over the rest in this category is Roger Cleveland. Having the man who inspired some of the most iconic wedge shapes ever coupled with a superb R&D team yields a combination that will deliver quality and performance time after time.

Here are some pics from the forums of MD5 out on tour now.

Akshay BhatiaFrancesco Molinari
Brendan GraceIsaiah SalindaJ.J. SpaunAlex Noren
Chun An YunHenrik Stenson Matt Wallace 

Si Woo Kim

Check out the videos below to see me and one of our forum members put Jaws MD5 to the test!

 

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